Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lawas Update in The Star paper

Lawas MP Henry Sum Agung said "I can confirm that nobody was injured. There were some angry youths who gathered to today in town and tried to vent their anger on each other because a teenage boy died during a fight last week" . Doesnt look like they're pissed at each other YB.


'Angry youths venting against each other' accroding to Henry Sum Agung.
Think the YB needs to get more accurate info from his office...
I lifted these pics off FB from various pages without permission. If you guys dont approve please do drop me a note and I'll take them off. you can email me at chindianatrails@gmail.com

A rep handing over the letter to the police chief in Lawas. I dont have much info and dont want to second guess what the contents are
As far as I know the second day of protests was also peaceful where a rep from the community handed over a letter to the head of the police in Lawas.

They had gathered in town and moved to the police station for this. No drama was reported.

Below is what appeared in the Star news paper here in West Malaysia. It appears its from the view point of the police and the politicians. No one got the feedback from the people in Lawas.

And the picture that was painted made it look like a small scuffle between some youths and not about the community's dissatisfaction with the police for not cracking down on the youths from Kampung Belimbing who have been terrorizing the town for quite a while already and which resulted in the first death of a local Lun Bawang last week.

Looking at the picture you already know that the information in the paper is one sided.

Credit should be given to the Lun Bawang and the residents of Lawas, Ba Kalalan and the surrounding communities for their controlled protest. I hope something will be done although it seems unlikely.

Sigh what i'd give for a land ruled by the spirit of Bob Marley and folks ride unicorns to work....

Below is the Star paper's news published online on the 25th of September:


Tuesday September 25, 2012

CP says there was no riot in Lawas; just a bunch of angry people

By STEPHEN THEN and DIANA ROSE
sarawakstar@thestar.com.my



MIRI: Security in Lawas town was tightened yesterday with street patrols by the police increased substantially, following spates of minor scuffles between several groups of youths.
It is believed that the incident had been triggered by the death of a teenager during a fight last Friday.
Lawas MP Datuk Henry Sum Agung yesterday confirmed that the scuffles did not result in any fatality.
Sum, who was in Kuala Lumpur for the ongoing Dewan Rakyat session, said his office staff in Lawas told him about what happened yesterday morning and afternoon.
“I can confirm that nobody was seriously injured. There were some angry youths who gathered today (yesterday) in the town and tried to vent their anger on each other because a teenage boy died during a fight last week.
“The police deployed more men on the streets. They have the situation under control.
“I have called the district police chief, the Resident, District Officer and community leaders there.
“I asked them about the latest situation. They have given assurance that the police have stepped up patrols in the town and that they have dispersed the youths.
“I want to assure the public that security in the town is under control. The most important thing to do now is to make sure that there are more policemen on duty every day.
“We do not want any situation that can turn into violent confrontations. The community leaders have already held a meeting this afternoon to discuss what happened today (yesterday).
“Tomorrow (today), they will call for another meeting in town and every community leader in the district are expected to attend,” he said.
Sum said the police had already arrested six or seven youths in connection with the Friday case.
He said efforts would be taken to secure the assistance of the community leaders from all the villages to pacify their people and to urge them to exercise restraint.
Sum urged the people to allow the police to investigate what happened on Friday that led to the death of the boy.
He said there was no racial motive for the killing, adding that every community head must try to explain the true situation to their people to help prevent any further misunderstanding.
Sum advised his constituents not to be carried away by emotions, and to leave the case to the police.
On Friday, a 19-year-old youth was killed during a gang fight invol-ving 30 youngsters. Six suspects were arrested and the district police chief DSP Fauzilan Abdul Aziz Madean appealed for calm amidst rumours that friends of the deceased were about to retaliate.
To the Commissioner of Police DCP Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani: “It is not a riot; only a bunch of angry and dissatisfied people who are against the family of the suspect”.
“No act of violence or any untoward incident has been reported. The Lawas OCPD has advised these people to stay calm and they dispersed peacefully,” he said.
As shops were closed early for the day, the police set up road blocks along Jalan Punang leading to Kampung Belimbing which certain groups were rumoured to threaten to burn down.
The Star was made to understand that Limbang Resident Maria Hasnan would meet the community leaders today to try to settle the issue.
Maria is expected to release an official statement after the meeting.
Ba’Kelalan state assemblyman Baru Bian, however, could not be reached on his mobile phone for comments

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Whats Happening in Other parts of our country

Date Monday 25th September. Protest in Lawas, Sarawak over the brutal killing
of a local boy by local trouble makers

Last Friday a young man Edwin Singa Pelipus was killed by about 30 drug addled youths in the small trading town of Lawas in Sarawak. Edwin is a local Lun Bawang while his killers were from the Malay Kampung Belimbing settlement.

I am not going into the racial aspects or the stories over the past few months that complaints of the proliferation of drugs into the town was spreading to other long houses as far as Ba Kalalan or that the representative of Ba Kalalan's complain to the state assembly of Sarawak was laughed at.

Its also not about the chief of police filing a report against a local website of accusing cops of being involved in the drug trade INSTEAD of conducting an investigation.

Its about our news agencies. The pictures above was the protest by the residents of Lawas, Ba Kalalan and the neighboring villages of the inaction of the police to clamp down on crime especially emanating from the Kampung Belimbing village. It was taken yesterday.

There is nothing in today's news portals. I just did a random search on the Star, NST and the Mail.

Maybe this could be a sensitive issue during the run up to the elections. May you dont want to inflame passions because East Malaysians are more civilized when handling protests (the majority of folks there hve no personal agendas nor do they seek trouble).

In any other society the entire village would have raised arms and burnt down Kampung Belimbing especially since the actions of the youth from that village has been going on for quite a while. Instead they staged a protest on the streets where the police turned up to sort things out.

I guess the point that i am trying to say is, its time we stopped believing that our country is a-OK. Its rotten at the root. Look in the papers . Sarawak chief minister is being investigated for amassing USD21 billion dollars but the MACC chief who is looking into it himself says that things are being blown out of proportion. lets try to be impartial dude. Warnings of drug use and smuggling are laughed at at Parliament, land is being stolen under the very noses of indigenous people and logging concessions are controlled by cronies of politicians. And this is just Sarawak. It would be depressing to find out what else goes on in the other 13 states.

As I've mentioned I find the Sabahans and Sarawakians more genuine people then us from the Semenanjung. We're greedy and fake and seek money above all.

There is nothing the politicians FROM BOTH SIDES can do to bring this nation up to its true potential. It actually lies in our hands. How much are we willing to sacrifice to make this happen?


Armed plainclothes cops at the scene 





Go HERE for the picture that appeared online on Friday that showed the body of young Edwin Singa Pelipus  after he was set upon by the mob from Kampung Belimbing

There is supposed to be another protest planned today. Lets hope its kept cool and no outside party turns up to cause trouble. I hope the authorities can behave fairly, impartially and with common sense by the truck load. Its about doing the right thing now.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Chill Zone, Where art thou?

Lets work that smile babeh -  one of the multifaced Bayon statues at the
Angkor Wat temple complex at Siem Reap in Cambodia.

With age comes intolerance for all things assholed and motherfucked. This city is turning into a shit heap. The selfish, ignorant and arrogant scum fucks who spawn spoil, soft squealing little brats only contribute to the degeneration of our once cool and proud nation.

It's really getting to me especially when i've spent the past few years travelling the region and finding out that the Indonesians, Thais and even the Filipinos are generally better people. Let's not go so far. Just take that 3 hour flight to East Malaysia and you will find that they are more caring a society than us. We who are caught up in the arms of greed and acts of self appeasing selfish-ness.

Today i finally have come to the realization my Patience Tank is at zero. Its empty and it has been empty for the past 2-3 years. Driving on the roads of KL piss me off. Seeing fuckwit parents triple parking in front of schools to drop off their offspring makes me want to Hulk up and smash those puny shiny little SUVs.

Damn.....

I'm so agro and grumpy. Yes I know. Its a surprise to me too....

I really need to find some chill space in my mind. I can't go on like this. Ive got to let the morons be. Let Karma and the zombie Apocalypse take out the motherfuckers.

I need to create my own little world and surround myself with Good People. Heck lets just throw in a coupla Smurfs and Ewoks for fun. In my world volunteer dwarf tossing is a Happy Hour necessity.

Excuse me while i go look for coffee....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Potato Potah-toe. Sorta.....

Pa Lungan church
There's one thing about fireside stories when you're out hiking. Even more so at the edge of the Malaysian border at the Kelabit highlands. Nestled amid the oldest forest in the world, stories abound by the folk that live there and who make a living mining the forests for food and supplies. Occasionally they take greenhorn tourists like me into the jungles to spend the night/s or trek through to neighboring villages.

While in Pa Lungan last week we were chatting with some hunters and guides who were recalling local legends and encounters with the 'invisible' people from the jungle,  especially one spirit in particular known by the local name of Pun Tumid (tumid meaning heel - the man spirit has inverted heels) or in most other stories as the Guardians or Tree Spirits or just some things older than the earth itself.

The primary forest can fuck with your mind if you've allowed it to be the devil's playground(your mind,not the forests (-_-).    Pictured here is Lasong my guide from Ba Kalalan from my last trek from Ba Kalalan to Bario about 18 months ago.
Hunters and guides all have stories of beings or spirits that sometimes will step out of the shadows to assert some  influence if you've wandered into their territory, inadvertently taken a piss at their home, brought fresh meat into the forests, walking in the forests during that time of the lady month or in the Kelabit Highlands, drying your wet towel or clothes over an open fire.

In the very staunch Christian communities of the Kelabit Highlands this was an amusing quote from Steven, one of the hunters after a disturbing incident a few months ago where a Belgian tourist staying in the jungle was harassed a little by something out there..  (Langkau if you're reading this let me know if i'm right or it was Petrus).

"There're things in the jungle that we know exists because we've had encounters with them. As Christians we're not supposed to believe in them. Our pastors says that and sometimes our headman also reminds us. We dont want to believe in them because we're Christians but someone forgot to tell the people in the jungle that we're Christians!!!" , followed by chuckling from all at the table.

I don't claim to understand the inner workings of this world. Religion is a funny old thing and faith is as much where you create your own miracles with prayers that power up your own efforts. But sometimes there're things i can't explain. I've seen one or two things in the jungle although the last one was not intimidating. It was quite enchanting actually but thats a story for another day.

I leave this post with the memory of warm chuckles around a table in a warm long house in the village of Pa Lungan. The chickens outside scurry about looking for the last snack of the day while the sun sets behind evening mists rising up from the forested mountains. Somewhere out there, near damp bark, century old trees, soft earth, moss, just beyond that cold mountain stream, Pun Tumid sits quietly, loin clothed and pale, waiting for some idiot to disrespect his forest.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Day Dreaming on Otter Wings

The Baram River from the Twin Otter 19 seater.


I love the flights on the the MasWings Twin Otters our of Ba Kalalan or Bario. The flights low over of the grand Sarawakian terrain with its forested mountains and snaking rivers spread out until the horizon.

Settle back in that hard seat and dream, wonder and let your mind drift off to the here and now, the tommorrows and next weeks as giant cotton clouds drift past lazily in the afternoon sun.

Woulda been perfect with cold beer and pork ribs....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Kelabit Highlands Again

The sunset in the Kelabit Highlands
I just got back a few days ago from Sarawak. This trip was in a way a little bit of my effort at CSR to try to see if i could contribute a little bit to the lives of villagers in the Kalabit highlands.

My apologies for the graininess of some of the pictures. I was only travelling with a wide angle lense to keep my pack's weight down and had to crop some of the pictures to get the shot that i had wanted. I guess it pays to always pack that extra zoom...

The group that went along this time was led by the ever dependable Langkau, the Mud Princess and the Harajuku Queen. The plan was to fly into Miri, take the MasWings Twin Otter into Bario, and then immediately start the 5 hour hike into the village of Pa Lungan. We would spend about a day speaking to locals to see if we could help provide solar powered faciliteis that the Mud Princess would help me to get my hands on technical expertise and i would find sponsors for the equipment.

Langkau had agreed to take me in and act as my guide and i'm really greatful to him for taking the time off his schedule to follow us all the way in. The Harajuku Queen tagged along as a last minute addition out of curiosity to check out one of the furthest points on the map of Malaysia.

The cramped MasWings Twin Ottern 19 seater planes
We land in Bario about noon to a drizzle but the worry about a muddy trail slowing us down before the sunset was abated somewhat when we found out that the government has finally built a cement road running to the village to Pa Ukat. This would shave off about 45 minutes to an hour from our hike as Stephen Baya, whom i stayed with the last time picked us up in his truck and drove us till the end of the paved road.

We stumble a little in the mud but quickly hit the trail that will take us to Pa Lungan. We are moving at a good pace and the two ladies man up as we eat on the move. The leeches make an appearance because of the wet grounds but we push on without taking too much damage. The Mud Princess seem to attract all the leeches leaving most of us unscathed. 

Langkau and I are pleasantly surprised when we actually hit Pa Lungan 3 and half hours later. At least 30 minutes ahead of schedule. The rain has long since eased up and the sun is peeking out of the some dark grey clouds.

The idylic pasture that greats all that arrive at Pa Lungan along the buffalo trail from Bario
One of the great things walking into Pa Lungan is the lovely pasture dotted by small pools that will greet you as you approach via Bario or the ferry from Pa Umor. With the grazing buffalos, its one of the best post card moments you'll ever find. Unless you're one of those doe eyed Twilight loving mother lovers of course. Then you can stay where you are and suck chicken sweat in Starbucks or Antipodean or wherever it is you frolic in humanity's chaos.

Batu Ritong Lodge
Mr Chew and Supang
On this trip we're staying at the Batu Ritong Lodge run by Supang and her husband Mr Chew. These home stay lodges in the highlands are great. This is the third i've stayed in and i have to say that the warm treatment and great food we're served is better than most hotels in the city.

The rainbow greets us as just after we had tea

The chill air signals we're far away from the shit frak that is the city. A rainbow arches over the mountains welcoming us to Pa Lungan. The hot coffee is in our bellies as we just take it easy and chill in the late afternoon sun.

We speak to Supang who used to be head woman of the village until some local politics decided that a woman chief was not kosher. She still wields considerable influence and is a player also in the political landscape in one of the political parties in Sarawak.

We find out that that someone else has already initiated a solar program in Pa Lungan although no one really seems to know who they are. We explore options on providing water purification but when you live in the middle of tropical mountains, clean water is not really an issue.

So we resign ourselves to enjoying the rest of our stay at leisure. That, and trying to see if we can finish that bottle of Glennfiddich before dinner.

The large dining area and hall at Batu Ritong Lodge. The hall thats strewn with rattan mats is ideal to snooze in the cool afternoons. Snoring like a hog is compulsory!
Bouganvillas at Batu Ritong Lodge
The Pa Lungan 'horse'
A large spider weaves its web at the walkway of Batu Ritong Lodge
The freshest dinner one can ever have - vegetables from the jungle, pork stew and sweet pineapples
Dinner is served soon after we all shower in cold refreshing rainwater piped in from huge plastic tanks outside. This is the time for quiet talk, exchanging of stories and experiences. We hear stories about the spirits in the jungle, the local politics and how that the proposed road to Ba Kalalan will help connect the villages even better, though many seem resigned to the fact that this promise might only bear fruition in 10 years time.

Meals in the kelabit highlands seperates needs from wants. Rice is grown in abundance. Vegetables are picked literally from the jungle a short walk away and if anyone seeks meat, its either the home grown chickens or meats hunted themselves or bought from local guides and hunters who got lucky in the forest. Which would mean anything from wild boar, deer, fish and the odd musang (depending on an individuals palatte).

Drinks by candle light and a glow stick
We tell Mr Chew to turn off the generator to save diesel and the candles come out. I have an old glow stick that i brought along for fun and the blue light adds to the festivities as the whisky bottle comes out and is methodotically polished off.

Best way to kill those mosquitoes mother lovers. Step 1 - Turn all lights off. Step 2 - light single candle . Step 3 - wait for those blood suckers to commit accidental hara-kiri as they dive bomb the flames.

Morning breakfast and 'sembang' sessions
We wake to the next morning to Langkau chatting to locals Petrus and Stephen who also act as guides to tourists. More stories are exchanged in quiet tones as the smell of fresh brewed coffee, pancakes and honey waft through the cold morning air. Some more stories of jungle spirits crop up. The encounter with a family that did not listen to their guides advice left some of us a little creeped out even in the morning but more amused at the guide's efforts to deflect the blame of disturbance to himself and his faithful accomplice, his hunting dog.

We plan to just explore Pa Lungan a little, visiting Supang's farm and rice fields about half an hour's walk from the main village. We'll have packed lunch there before heading back to the lodge to chill before dinner.

The Batu Ritong Monument built by a local aristocrat about a hundred years ago.
Ducks on a muddy pond
Supang crossing one of the bridges on the way to her farm
Workers work the field through rain and shine

Langkau taking a breather and munching on jungle mangosteens
The Harajuku Queen with her borrowed wellingtons
The homes in Pa Lungan are built around a large football field.
Similar to many towns and villages

The Mud Princess crossing the Pa Lungan river

A Pa Lungan mutt chilling in the afternoon sunshine
Langkau snoozes after lunch
The swimming cockerel of Pa Lungan
Supang patiently at her work station
I'm up the next day and catch up with Supang who's hard at work making bead souvenirs for guests who will be coming in a week's time. Its a quiet moment as she chats quietly to Langkau who had already woken up much earlier in the morning.

The room acts a the family musuem and its filled with relics from generations. Chinese urns, old gongs, plates from old England and carefully arranged around the room. An old Indonesian bible and a journal by Supang's grand father are also kept safely here. Its a room that keeps the history and tradition of the Kelabit highlands alive. I doubt there are many like these (please correct me if i'm wrong you Kelabit folks)
Supang explaining some of the historical points to Langkau
Supang's work in progress and the tools craft
A quick breakfast and we're off back to Bario. The rains have eased and we're hoping to get to Bario early before the noon. Supang calls ahead to Stephen to pick us at Pa Ukat to save us time.

This time around I'm taking point and set a slightly faster pace as i want to look for the Aussie war memorial in Bario which i had missed the last time around. I am also quite confident by then that the two ladies are no spoilt soft city slickers and are able to take in a quicker pace.

We stop for one quick rest, stumble along on the swampy crossings and before you know it we're on the fringes of Pa Ukat in slightly over 3 hours. Not bad i tells ya. No wonder some locals are able to make the supposed 5 hour from Ba Kalalan to Bario in 90 minutes. At our pace we could have hit Bario proper within 4 hours which is not too bad for a bunch whose weekly workout is downing copious amounts of alcohol.
Pa Ukat rice fields
The Pa Ukat trail that takes you to Bario
Jungle Blues Dream's cosy kitchen
Stephen and Tine own the Jungle Blues Dream Art Gallery and Homestay in Bario. I stayed here the last time and its' the only place i'll stay in Bario. While Stephen prepares dinner i take a walk around Bario to look for the war memorial with the ladies. We're caught in the drizzle but no one seems to mind too much. Its a nice walk and it sets us up perfectly for the hot meal that we'll be eating later in the evening.
Stephen cooks by headlamp before he turns on the generator later in the night
Little Noah Baya and mom Tine
Langkau strums away as Stephen takes a break from cooking
Langkau picks up Tine's old guitar and strums away as Stephen quietly chops at the vegetables as he stews the deer that they had just bought off a Penan hunter in town. Its quiet outside as the mists drift in from the mountains. Its warm here in the kitchen and again I'm reminded that sometimes all we need is a roof over our heads and a hot meal in our belly.  The rest of the world can suck it.


Bario wake up call.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Yearly Sabah Excursion

Sunset at Tanjung Aru

 Sabah is peace and chilling with good company, simple food and a slow reaching sinking urge that life can be lived in simplicity. I try to make a trip out here every year. Last week I hit Kota Kinablau with the Girlfriend of Chindiana to meet up with my old buddy Nex for a coupla days.
Ahh... those days of pure joy without a thought for tomorrow...

I have a habit of visiting the same places almost in sequence. Its like a check list of treats that crosses all the boxes to feed my my grumpy soul.

I try to hit Tanjung Aru's Beach 2 for that burger while watching the sunset.  The next morning Nex normall picks me up for a sloe drive to Kinablu Park BUT we have to stop by the little town of Tamparuli for Tuaran noodles. We hit the park for coffee and chilling in the cold air and just overall looking up at Kinabalu mountain.

This is normally followed up with just chilling in town, Going toy shopping at KK Toys near Api-Api, getting some good seafood at a number of places and then watching live bands at Shennenigans.

With the girlfriend in tow this year we added a visit to Manukan island for a brunch outing and a stop by Perdana Park near Tanjung Aru.

The Tamparuli pedestrian suspension bridge above the famous unassuming Tamparuli bridge below
Farms on the Crocker Range.


Crocker Range view on the way down from Kinabalu Park to
Kundasang town for lunch
Kundasang farmlands
Jesselton Jetty - kickoff point to many of the islands

Jesselton Jetty
Pulau Manukan Jetty
A brunch of nasi lemak, coffee and beer and Manukan island. Its best to pack your own food as the frakkers at Sutera  Harbour (the management of the facility) seem to be targetting tourists. Our nasi lemak with a coffee was served at a princely hotel price of RM16. Manukan is great for a day or half day trip to just chill, eat, snooze and snorkel on the beach before heading back to KK to party, or chill, eat cheaper sea food or just get drunk in some coffee shop
Perdana Park, a really professionally run and privately managed park just 5 mintues walk from Tanjung Aru beach. Great for an evening run for you sporty types who can't seem to go on a holiday without packing a heart rate monitor.
Tanjung Aru - the best place to catch a sunset in KK.

The GFoC and your truly outside the Salut Seafood restaurant.
The food was OK but not as fantastic as it's been made out to be. This great pic taken by Nex